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Calliope

ratings
189
REVIEWS
184
FOLLOWING
1
FOLLOWERS
7
HELPFUL VOTES
247

  • Appointment with Death: A Hercule Poirot Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (6 hrs and 7 mins)
    • By Agatha Christie
    • Narrated By Hugh Fraser
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (89)
    Performance
    (78)
    Story
    (78)

    Among the towering red cliffs of Petra, like some monstrous swollen Buddha, sits the corpse of Mrs.Boynton. A tiny puncture mark on her wrist is the only sign of the fatal injection that killed her. With only 24 hours available to solve the mystery, Hercule Poirot recalled a chance remark he'd overheard back in Jerusalem: "You see, don't you, that she's got to be killed?" Mrs. Boynton was, indeed, the most detestable woman he'd ever met....

    DJDecca says: "Family Secrets"
    "Another great reading of an enjoyable book"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    It's not my favourite Christie novel, but it's still an interesting story with great characters - I particularly like the malevolent mother who is the murder victim in this story. Not sure why it was called "Appointment with Death", though - time is a factor, but no appointments were made out in the deserts around Petra (in Jordan). Hugh Fraser does a great job again, and I love listening to his narration of so many of the Agatha Christie mysteries.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Something Wicked This Way Comes

    • UNABRIDGED (9 hrs and 8 mins)
    • By Ray Bradbury
    • Narrated By Christian Rummel
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (141)
    Performance
    (124)
    Story
    (124)

    A carnival rolls in sometime after the midnight hour on a chill Midwestern October eve, ushering in Halloween a week before its time. A calliope's shrill siren song beckons to all with a seductive promise of dreams and youth regained. In this season of dying, Cooger & Dark's Pandemonium Shadow Show has come to Green Town, Illinois, to destroy every life touched by its strange and sinister mystery.

    AudioBookReviewer says: "It's so creepy"
    "Both charming and creepy - very well done"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    I've heard of this title but never read it, my previous Bradbury experience being Fahrenheit 451 - a good story, but without the lyrical prose and charming reminiscences of this book. I loved it. There is a lot of creepy horror in this book - an evil carnival comes to a small town are starts to ruin some lives and stalk the protagonists - two irrepressible teen boys. That's where the "charming" comes in - Bradbury's descriptions of the actions, dreams, thoughts, and plans of the young teen boys (13, going on 14) in this 1960s small town is lovely. This is a book that's both fantasy and horror, with enough of each that it never gets overpowering.

    The boys are flip sides of the same coin - born 2 minutes apart, growing up and living next door to one another - Very much alike in some ways, but still different enough that it impacts their reaction to and affect of the traveling carnival.

    For the first hour or so I thought the narrator was merely adequate, but as the book went on, I began to really love his narration. He definitely did a great job and I think added a lot to the experience of the book.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • A Doll's House

    • ORIGINAL (2 hrs and 10 mins)
    • By Henrik Ibsen
    • Narrated By Calista Flockhart, Tony Abatemarco, Tim Dekay, and others
    Overall
    (61)
    Performance
    (55)
    Story
    (57)

    A new recording of Henrik Ibsen's masterpiece, starring Calista Flockhart. Nora Helmer has everything a young housewife could want: beautiful children, an adoring husband, and a bright future. But when a carelessly buried secret rises from the past, Nora's well-calibrated domestic ideal starts to crumble. Ibsen's play is as fresh today as it was when it first stormed the stages of 19th-century Europe.

    Louisiana says: "Classic!"
    "A classic, but new to me"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was a new story to me - I had not seen nor read the play before. I was shocked by the resolution because it seemed so atypical for even the late 19th century -- in fact, I have read since that it was quite a controversial ending and Ibsen was forced to change it for performances in Germany.

    In a nutshell, this is a story about a paternalistic and overbearing husband and his secretive and child-like wife; to him, he has a dollhouse of perfect little toys to play with, but to her, she has a gilded cage full of superficial pleasantries but no freedom. The resolution is unexpected for 1879, even though today's reader might think it appropriate.

    The production was good, even though I'm not a Calista Flockhart fan, but the children sounded like Munchkins - which is odd, because this is a live production and I'm sure they were really children in the roles. Tim Dekay and Gregory Itzin were wonderful.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Birds & Don't Look Now

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 56 mins)
    • By Daphne Du Maurier
    • Narrated By Peter Capaldi
    Overall
    (64)
    Performance
    (43)
    Story
    (43)

    Du Maurier is of course world famous for many of her novels. These two stories are perhaps even better known as films (The Birds by Alfred Hitchcock and Don't Look Now by Nic Roeg), but here we bring you the full terrifying texts, superbly read by Peter Capaldi, who brings the true dimension of these works to the imagination.

    Kelley says: "Five star everything"
    "Two tales of horror, each unique"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    The Birds is best known as the source for the Hitchcock movie, but the book has more of the relentlessness and persistence of the evil elements of nature than the moralistic overtones of a Hollywood movie of the 50s or 60s. The "East wind" brings bad weather, misfortune or even evil, as literary references from pre-biblical times on have said it would. In the past that meant cold rain, locusts, or even war - here it means destructive birds working in concert to attack all of England. The fact that there is no reason for the horror makes it even more frightening.

    The Birds seems very much more Du Maurier-esque than Don't Look Now, which is more psychologically creepy than real-world horrific. This is the story of a couple vacationing in Venice trying to rebuild themselves and their marriage after the death of their daughter. It involves psychic visions (realized and unrealized), mysterious twins, blindness and second sight, and mistaken identity. I found it a little more scattered and less focused than The Birds, but it might just be a preference of mine for natural evil over psychic visions.

    The one weak point in this audiobook is the poor audio quality, as if it was an old analogue recording in mono, even though the release date is 2008.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Breakfast at Tiffany's

    • UNABRIDGED (2 hrs and 52 mins)
    • By Truman Capote
    • Narrated By Michael C. Hall
    Overall
    (1949)
    Performance
    (1773)
    Story
    (1785)

    Golden Globe-winning actor Michael C. Hall (Dexter, Six Feet Under) performs Truman Capote's masterstroke about a young writer's charmed fascination with his unorthodox neighbor, the "American geisha" Holly Golightly. Holly - a World War II-era society girl in her late teens - survives via socialization, attending parties and restaurants with men from the wealthy upper class who also provide her with money and expensive gifts. Over the course of the novella, the seemingly shallow Holly slowly opens up to the curious protagonist.

    Michael says: "Subtle yet Extravagant"
    "Wow, this man could write! Incredible novella!"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Enjoying a book from a fabulous writer can really highlight the weaknesses of other authors, though it's really an unfair comparison because genius writers are rare jewels. I think Capote was a genius writer, though he wrote relatively little in his lifetime (more's the shame). The two most popular are both in Audible: In Cold Blood (read it in print) and Breakfast at Tiffany's.

    This is not the movie, with the lovable, streetwise yet naive, party girl who entrances every man she meets. This Holly Golightly is a selfish teenaged schemer, who works hard at attracting and entrancing wealthy older men so they will pay for her lifestyle.....yet somehow earns the affection of the men in her life she is not trying to captivate. They see in her some of what they wish they could be: untamed by society's rules and expectations, unburdened by any sense of responsibility and so able to experience so much more of life. The fact that Holly disappeared into the world without much of a trace allows those who remember her to paint some of their memories with a bit of a rosy hue and a sense of hope for her unknown future.

    While many have said wonderful things about the narration by Michael C. Hall, I found it to be just average. Not bothersome, but certainly not anything I'll make a point of searching for in the future. In fact, his narration kept me from buying this audiobook at full price, and it wasn't until it was on sale that I felt it was a worthwhile purchase.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Mysterious Affair at Styles: A Hercule Poirot Mystery

    • UNABRIDGED (5 hrs and 57 mins)
    • By Agatha Christie
    • Narrated By Hugh Fraser
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (70)
    Performance
    (62)
    Story
    (61)

    Captain Arthur Hastings, invalided in the Great War, is recuperating as a guest of John Cavendish at Styles Court, the "country-place" of John's autocratic old aunt, Emily Inglethorpe - she of a sizeable fortune, and so recently remarried to a man 20 years her junior. When Emily's sudden heart attack is found to be attributable to strychnine, Hastings recruits an old friend, now retired, to aid in the local investigation. With impeccable timing, Hercule Poirot, the famous Belgian detective, makes his dramatic entrance into the pages of crime literature.

    lerone says: "keeps you wanting more"
    "wonderfully read, engaging mystery"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This story is narrated in the first person by Captain Hastings, played in the well known British TV series "Agatha Christie's Poirot" by the narrator of this book, Hugh Fraser. It's a perfect match, and Fraser is a wonderful performer on many Agatha Christie audiobooks. He's terrific. This was Dame Christie's first book, and is also the first appearance of Hercule Poirot, recently arrived in England from the German-occupied Belgium of WW I.

    The mystery is well crafted and well written, with all the clues laid out but well hidden under red herrings and the setting of a family manor home during the deprivations and suspicions of a country at war.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Given Day

    • UNABRIDGED (23 hrs and 46 mins)
    • By Dennis Lehane
    • Narrated By Michael Boatman
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (471)
    Performance
    (229)
    Story
    (224)

    The Given Day explores the crippling violence and irrepressible exuberance of a country at war with, and in the thrall of, itself. As Danny, Luther, and those around them struggle to define themselves in increasingly turbulent times, they gradually find family in one another and, together, ride a rising storm of hardship, deprivation, and hope that will change all their lives.

    D Jay says: "As Good As It Gets"
    "doesn't engage me - not the Lehane I've liked"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    After 6 hours - about a quarter of the book - I'm just not engaged in the story or the characters. And if it hasn't engaged and involved me by this point (with either interest or emotion), I doubt it's going to. The small, interspersed vignettes of characters and plot points are occasionally interesting but mostly routine and/or derivative and, after 6 hours, aren't even starting to show me how they're connected. There's good descriptions of the times, but poor characterization and poor flow.

    This is not the Dennis Lehane writing I enjoyed so much in the various crime novels.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • An Ideal Husband

    • UNABRIDGED (1 hr and 39 mins)
    • By Oscar Wilde
    • Narrated By Rosalind Ayres, Jacqueline Bisset, Paul Gutrecht, and others
    Overall
    (63)
    Performance
    (36)
    Story
    (38)

    A tender love story, a serpentine villainess, a glittering setting in London society, and a showering of Wildean witticism are only a few of the reasons why this play has enjoyed hugely successful revivals in London, in New York, and on the silver screen. This 1895 drama is eerily prescient, as it examines the plight of a promising politician, desperate to hide a secret in his past. With empathy and wit, Oscar Wilde explores the pitfalls of holding public figures to higher standards than the rest of us.

    CaitlĂ­n Mitchell says: "Almost perfect"
    "a classic Wilde"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Although this is one of Wilde's "society plays" and often described as a comedy, there's some very real dramatic elements in addition to the expected satire and wit. There's blackmail, insider trading, and scandal, but there's also a strong thread of loving imperfections and a person's flaws.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • The Dragon Factory: The Joe Ledger Novels, Book 2

    • UNABRIDGED (16 hrs and 11 mins)
    • By Jonathan Maberry
    • Narrated By Ray Porter
    • Whispersync for Voice-ready
    Overall
    (2731)
    Performance
    (2415)
    Story
    (2417)

    In The Dragon Factory, Ledger and his team from the Department of Military Sciences square off against two separate groups of corrupt scientists. The beautiful but twisted Jakoby Twins are creating transgenic monsters and genetically enhanced mercenaries for sale to the highest bidder. Their father, who takes evil to an entirely new level, is using cutting-edge science to complete the Nazi master-race program.

    David says: "And now for the kitchen sink...."
    "too preachy - not as good as the first"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    Well, Maberry's managed to make the Nazi's villains even though WW II was over 70 years ag0 - there's got to be some credit in that. This is not nearly as good as the first in the series (Patient Zero), but I still like the larger-than-life Ledger and his team of bad-asses. However, this one gets too preachy about the evil work of the evil genius. I think it's kind of unnecessary to have everyone repeatedly say how horrible eugenics and white-supremacy ideas are. We get it, already. I think without the wonderful narration, I wouldn't have enjoyed this nearly as much and would have skimmed a lot of it.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • All My Sons

    • ORIGINAL (1 hr and 54 mins)
    • By Arthur Miller
    • Narrated By Julie Harris, James Farentino, Arye Gross, and others
    Overall
    (46)
    Performance
    (30)
    Story
    (28)

    World War II is over and a family, mourning a son missing in action, plants a memorial tree and tries to go on with their lives. A storm blows down the tree and a devastating family secret is uprooted, setting the characters on a terrifying journey towards truth.

    Lisa says: "HAD TO READ FOR ENGLISH LIT ... SO GLAD I DID!"
    "terrific play, great performances"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This was not a title I knew anything about, but since I've enjoyed many Arthur Miller plays, I decided to take a leap - and I'm so glad I did. Emotional turmoil, secret and lies, in a family and a neighbourhood after World War II, and many of the ideas come up in future plays.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful
  • Raymond Chandler: The Big Sleep (Dramatised)

    • ORIGINAL (1 hr and 26 mins)
    • By Raymond Chandler
    • Narrated By Toby Stephens, Kelly Burke, Barbara Barnes, and others
    Overall
    (71)
    Performance
    (60)
    Story
    (60)

    A brand new BBC Radio 4 full-cast dramatisation of a classic Raymond Chandler mystery featuring private eye, Philip Marlowe. Los Angeles PI Philip Marlowe is working for the Sternwood family. Old man Sternwood, crippled and wheelchair-bound, is being given the squeeze by a blackmailer and he wants Marlowe to make the problem go away.

    JAMIE says: "WARNING: NOT THE COMPLETE NOVEL"
    "Rather clicheed, not my cup of tea"
    Overall
    Performance
    Story

    This is a nice performance of a classic noir book, but unfortunately "noir" has been satirized and abused so often it's become a cliche for me. I'm sure it was terrific when it was originally written, but for me the abundance of imitators and satires have done it no favours over the years. I liked it, but it doesn't hold the punch it likely did originally.

    0 of 0 people found this review helpful

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